Weasel Journalism

John Allen has a piece in the NCR on line that display the worst of his "just the news," but let-me-start-some-trouble approach to reporting the "news." It begins: "Back in 1993, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger gave an address in Hong Kong to the presidents of Asian bishops conferences on Christology, meaning the churchs teaching about Christ. Ratzinger criticized trends in contemporary theology that he believed gave too much away for the sake of accommodating religious diversity, and a footnote cited the work of Belgian Jesuit theologian Jacques Dupuis."Eight years later, Dupuis had a "notification" from Ratzinger's Vatican and lived under a cloud. Those appear to be facts. Allen goes on to draw a contemporary comparison: "In the most recent issue of the Quarterly of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, Capuchin Fr. Thomas Weinandy, executive director of the U.S. Bishops Secretariat of Doctrine, subjects Tilleys presidential address to the CTSA last June to a withering critique in effect, suggesting that it offered clever rhetoric masking 'doctrinal ambiguity and error.'Allen ingenuously suggests that we have an analogous situtation here, while nonetheless observing that Weinandy is not Ratzinger and that Weinandy has the usual disclaimer: these are his personal views and not those of the U.S. Bishops Conference for whom he works. And yet he repeats Weinandy's attack, and implies what????So what's Allen up to? http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/doctrine-chief-us-bishops-takes-leading-theologian (better link I hope).Here is Terrance Tilley's address to the CTSA: http://www.ctsa-online.org/presidential_addresss_2009.pdfHere is Thomas Weinandy: http://www.catholicscholars.org/publications/quarterly/v32n3fal2009.pdf (It begins on page 4.)

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

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